There’s a passage in the Bible that chronicles a bloody transition of power led by a man named Jehu.
Before word circulated that Jehu was cleaning house, he pronounced a day of worship for Baal that included a mandatory attendance policy for the priests of Baal.
The ruse worked. The priests of Baal all showed up and were given special robes to identify them. There were others who wanted to be a part of the big day, and they shoehorned themselves in until there was not room for another person. (You can read the story in 2 Kings 10.)
If I know anything about human nature, some in the crowd weren’t really all that committed to Baal. There were some who probably didn’t know what they believed, but they wanted to be included in whatever was popular. In that community, more people did the Baal-thing than the God-thing. And so they went with the crowd, giving little thought to whether or not truth was part of the picture.
The room for the meeting was a sealed tomb, even before Jehu ordered the complete slaughter of all who were inside. No one who went inside would live to see the next day.
How blessed were those who knew what they believed enough to go against the crowd and stay away from the big event. How blessed were those who listened to their hearts or remembered God’s warnings about having “no other gods before Me.” How incredibly fortunate were those who searched for truth and knew not to come near a place where God’s judgment might one day fall.
When Jehu was cleaning house that day, there were only two options. You could be in that building or out of it. You could be doomed for death or saved from judgment.
One day there will be a great Day of Judgment for everyone who’s ever lived. It will not matter that it won’t seem fair to many. It will not matter that many will have ignored, procrastinated or laughed at spiritual decisions.
It will only matter that you are standing in the right place when God announces that time has run out for deciding where the “right place” is.
So many people today are looking for the middle ground when it comes to faith. Maybe they’ve bought into the “Coexist” mantra that believes all religions are equally true. In the name of “tolerance,” they have demoted Jesus to stand with the charlatans of religious history.
There are many, many others who like the Jesus who follows them. How tragic. Jesus never offered a comfortable, feel-good religion. He invited us to carry a cross, deny ourselves and lose our lives in order that we might finally discover what it is to truly live.
When Judgment Day arrives, there is no middle ground. Like the day when Jehu executed judgment over the followers of Baal, you’ll either live to see another day or the end will have come in a more horrible scene than can be described.
The only survivors on Judgment Day will be those who’ve done their best to become disciples of Jesus.
Singing along with songs about Jesus won’t make the grade on Judgment Day. Knowing that your grandfather was a preacher won’t earn you any points when the Book of Life is opened and eternal destinations are pronounced. Being a good person won’t be good enough.
It’s a sobering thought. It’s an unsettling image. It’s so uncomfortable, our first reaction is to not think of it at all.
But that’s how a lot of people wound up in the wrong building when Jehu pulled out his sword of judgment. By the time they realized they’d made a horrible mistake, it was too late.
If the Bible is true, Judgment Day is coming.
Jesus spoke of it repeatedly. Revelation hides none of its horror. Like the warnings that come along in life about an endless array of serious decisions, this one hangs out there waiting for an answer.
Literally … this decision waits for an answer.
“I am the resurrection and the life,” Jesus once said. “The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
“Do you believe this?”
Answer the question. Take care of the Judgment Day decision now. End the nightmare of wondering if you’ve chosen the right place to stand.
Follow Jesus … and live.